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A common question for a first time Rolex sports watch buyer revolves around the differences between the Rolex GMT-Master II (16710) and the Rolex Submariner (16610). Both of these particular models are out of production. Fortunately, Rolex replaced them with their ceramic bezeled younger siblings, the GMT-Master II 16710 and the Submariner 11610. They are two of Rolex’s most popular models. In addition, these timepieces are readily available on the pre-owned market and places such as Beckertime. Here are the Rolex GMT-Master II vs Rolex Submariner comparisons.
The company introduced both of these models in the mid-1950 as true tool watches. Rolex designed each with a specific purpose in mind. They designed the Submariner for underwater diving that became more prevalent as SCUBA diving hit the mainstream. Conversely, they designed the GMT for intercontinental flight and use by pilots to manage UTC time.
Both the Submariner (11610) and the GMT (16710) have many similarities which are summarized as follows:
Despite these similarities, the Rolex GMT-Master vs Rolex Submariner comparisons show distinct differences designed for specific uses/functions that are as follows:
This comparison between the Rolex GMT-Master II vs Rolex Submariner shows us differences in the caseback, the Submariner rides a little higher than the GMT. There is really no wrong choice between these two watches. But, the only way to tell which one “feels” better is to try on each of them.
For many Rolex fans, there really is only one pilot’s watch — the GMT-Master. Designed specifically for pilots, the GMT-Master permitted aviation professionals to keep track of various time zones as they flew around the world. In fact, Rolex originally produced the GMT-Master for Pan Am. Soon after, it was adopted by other pilots, and finally by the general population. But, there’s no denying the practicality of the Rolex GMT-Master, regardless if you know how to fly a plane or not. Ultimately, this is a storied and popular Rolex watch. However, it is the GMT-Master bezel that is the one component that really characterizes this handsome timepiece. So let’s dig into some of the finer details.
First and foremost, let’s get back to basics; what is the bezel on the GMT-Master watch for? The first thing you’ll note about the bezel is the 24-hour markings. Therefore, along with the extra 24-hour hand on the dial, the bezel’s primary function was to allow wearers to see the time in another time zone. Many pilots set that second time zone to Greenwich Meridian Time (GMT) standard, hence the name of the watch.
Also, you’ll notice the red and blue colors on the bezel of the original GMT-Master. Aside from looking great, the reason for two colors was to quickly differentiate between daytime and nighttime on the 24-hour bezel.
On the GMT-Master models, the 24-hour hand and the center hour hand are not independent of each other. Therefore, the second time zone is determined by turning the bezel to have the 24-hour hand point to the appropriate hour. On GMT-Master II references, however, the pair of hour hands are autonomous, thus allowing the indication of a third time zone.
There are in fact five different bezel color options on stainless steel GMT-Master watches.
As previously mentioned, the original and subsequently most iconic bezel on a Rolex GMT-Master mens stainless steel watch is the red and blue bi-color bezel. In Rolex circles, this particular bezel is nicknamed the “Pepsi” for its similarity to the beverage logo. There are many stainless steel GMT-Master “Pepsi” models including ref. 6254, ref. 1675, ref. 16750, ref. 16700, and ref. 16710.
Staying on the soda theme, there’s also the red and black “Coke” bezel, which made its debut on the inaugural stainless steel GMT-Master II model, the ref. 16760. Or, if you prefer a slimmer and newer edition, there’s also the GMT-Master II ref. 16710 with a “Coke” bezel.
The all blue bezel, nicknamed the “Blueberry,” is actually very rare. It was only available on some custom-ordered stainless steel GMT-Master ref. 1675 watches in the 1970s. These were never available to the public in Rolex boutiques.
The black and blue ceramic bezel is the newest type of bezel available on the stainless steel GMT-Master. Nicknamed the “Batman,” Rolex unveiled the black and blue Cerachrom ceramic bezel in 2013 on the ref. 116710.
Finally, there’s the ubiquitous black bezel. Introduced on a stainless steel GMT-Master ref. 1675 in the 1970s, most steel GMT-Master models (except for the ref. 6524 and the ref. 16760) offer the black bezel option.
With color options that range from all black to both blue and red and some more shades in between, settling on just one stainless steel GMT-Master Rolex watch may be a little challenging!